2016 Mazda CX-9 vs. Its Competition

2016 Mazda CX-9 image
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

The competition is especially tough this year for three-row crossover utility vehicles.

The Honda Pilot has transformed itself from a boxy, somewhat roughly finished family crossover to one that’s simply better detailed all around, with the best third-row seat in the class.

The Toyota Highlander is a close second, and offers 4-cylinder and hybrid models to boot.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a somewhat more curvaceous alternative, with a pleasant ride and impressive feature set.

The Ford Explorer offers a turbo-4 and moderate off-road ability, though crash-test scores have a major flaw or two.

Finally, the Volvo XC90 is the pick of the crossover pack this year for those who want to splurge a little; like the CX-9, it’s a little sportier and has some grand aspirations.

2016 Mazda CX-9 image2016 Mazda CX-9
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2017 Ford Explorer image2017 Ford Explorer
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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe image2017 Hyundai Santa Fe
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2016 Honda Pilot image2016 Honda Pilot
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2016 Toyota Highlander image2016 Toyota Highlander
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Quick Specs
The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has sharp handling and sleek looks, but falls a bit shy in features and third-row space.
The 2017 Ford Explorer adds a sport appearance package and Sync 3, both of which are important to today's SUV buyers.
The restyled 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport looks sharp, inside and out. We can't help but wonder what the model could do with a slightly improved powertrain lineup.
The 2016 Honda Pilot has axed its hard edges: it's once again a smooth, capable family wagon, one that raises the bar for refinement.
The 2016 Toyota Highlander isn't all that exciting to look at or to drive, but it's very versatile and handsome enough to be a great minivan alternative.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
21 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy
Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded V-6Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded V-6Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class    
Small SUV 2WDStandard SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WDSmall SUV 2WD
Style Name    
FWD 4-Door SportBase FWD2.4L Automatic2WD 4-Door LXFWD 4-Door I4 LE (GS)
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
Sport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport Utility
Automatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2016 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2017 Ford Explorer2016 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe2016 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2016 Honda Pilot2016 Mazda CX-9 vs. 2016 Toyota Highlander